Arsene Wenger has saluted Abou Diaby after the former Arsenal midfielder was forced to retire at the age of 32.
Diaby, who was on Paris Saint-Germain’s books early in his career, joined the Gunners from French club Auxerre in 2006.
He spent almost a decade in north London but injuries limited him to just 16 league appearances in his last four seasons before a 2015 exit. Further fitness problems also prematurely ended his comeback attempt with Marseille, and he had not played a senior game since 2017.
France international Diaby won 16 caps, scoring his only goal for Les Bleus against Finland in 2012.
Wenger, who brought his countryman to Arsenal, told French radio: “I am sad that you are finishing your career.
“It is strange because, last night, I was asked about you and this tackle from Sunderland that hurt you so badly and I spoke about your courage and strength that you showed to come back.
“Unfortunately, you were not maybe able to express all the talent that you have.
“But I am sure that you will have success in whatever comes next. I hope it for you. Thank you and I wish you all the best for the future.”
Diaby announced his retirement on a French TV show this week, stating: “I am bringing an end to my professional career. It is the right time.
“For a number of years it has been difficult for me to return, with a lot of physical problems.
“It is a difficult decision but I have thought a lot about my decision and I am at ease with it. After Marseille, I gave myself a year to come back but it was harder than I thought, and I have decided to stop.”
A post on world champions France’s Twitter account, featuring a video of his goal against Finland, read: “We wish the first goalscorer of the (Didier) Deschamps era a lot of happiness and success in the new life that awaits him.”
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